I am honored today to feature my good friend Ryan T. Higgins on my blog today.
Coming October 18, 2016 from Disney Hyperion, a reappearance from a grumpy old bear we’ve all grown to love… that’s right, Mother Bruce is coming back!
When Bruce gets home from a southern migration trip with his goslings, he is tired. He is grumpy. And he is definitely not in the mood to share his home with the trio of mice who have turned his den into a hotel.
There’s a possum pillow fight wreaking havoc in one room, a fox luring guests into a stew in the kitchen, and a snuggly crew of critters hogging the bed. Bruce growls and grumbles and tries to throw them all out, but the entrepreneurial mice just can’t take a hint. Bruce is in a little over his head, especially once the goslings join the staff. Will this grumpy bear ever get his quiet, peaceful den back to himself?
And now… welcome, Ryan T. Higgins!
Hello, Ryan, thank you for joining me for an interview and to show readers everywhere an exclusive look at your Fall 2016 book, Hotel Bruce, from Disney-Hyperion!
Thank you for having me! This is a cozy place you have here.
Tell us a little bit about Hotel Bruce.
Hotel Bruce is the sequel to Mother Bruce. It’s the story of how Bruce, the grumpy old bear, comes home from his annual winter vacation (see Mother Bruce for details) to discover that three mice have moved into his house and turned it into a bustling woodland hotel. Bruce doesn’t like visitors — or really much of anything — and I couldn’t resist filling his home with as many guests as possible…just to see what happened. I laughed all the way through making this book and really hope Bruce’s readers get a little chuckle out of it when it hits the shelves.
If I were looking for a perfect vacation spot, what would a stay at Hotel Bruce consist of?
Well, that depends on who you ask. Bruce wouldn’t want any visitors. He’d tell you to stay somewhere else. The mice that turned Bruce’s house into a hotel, on the other hand, would describe the tranquility of staying in a natural setting. They’d probably say something about the fresh woodland air and the serene sounds of the wilderness, the smell of aged moss, the beautiful sun-dappled breakfast nook, the first-rate cook, and the plethora of diverse guests. They’d tell you that you could enjoy sleeping in late or you could benefit from an early morning wakeup call. They’d also tell you to pay no attention to the grumpy looking bear over there in the corner.
When you were writing Mother Bruce, did you intend to write a sequel/series, or at what point did this idea cross your mind?
It was not my intention to make a series when I started making Mother Bruce. I didn’t have any plan, except to make a book that made me laugh. The grumpy bear that strolled out of my head, and the little geese that followed him, forced my hand. They wouldn’t let me NOT make a sequel. I may have come up with Bruce and the geese, but they’re running the show now. I’m just along for the ride to see where these critters go next.
Have you always been this funny?
Gosh! No! Not in person, anyway. I’m incredibly dull and uninteresting. I try to be funny. But when I try, it almost never works. It’s when I think I’m being serious that people laugh the most.
My best jokes are accidents. I started to notice this late in high school. I had to give an address at my graduation and I wrote what I thought was this profound and insightful speech that would change people’s world views. Instead, everyone was rolling around and laughing through my entire speech. They all congratulated me afterward on my comedic genius. That’s when I knew I had no future in speech writing.
I developed a reputation for being funny in college while having a conversation with the painting professor. He was talking about how he owned a beautiful antique bicycle and how he was planning on painting it soon. I (very seriously) said, “…umm… so what color is your bicycle now?” thinking he meant he was going to physically paint his bike another color. He laughed and laughed and thought I was quite the comedian. It stuck. I’ve been accidentally making jokes ever since.
What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?
I can’t smell. No…I smell, but my nose doesn’t. No…I mean I am unable to smell things. I was born without a sense of smell.
If you weren’t writing and illustrating books, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d be living in Alaska, studying Kodiak bears. Or maybe in Africa, studying baboons. Or maybe Canada, studying wolves. My degree is in ecology — not illustration or writing (you can tell by my terrible use of grammar). I’ve always had this pie-in-the-sky dream of writing and illustrating my own stories, but I also wanted a good backup plan if kids’ books didn’t pan out. I still love studying animals and animal science. Maybe I’ll retire soon and go live with bears. We’ll see.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
More Bruce books! AND a few other books on the side.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?
I’d like to share my family’s secret recipe for salmon loaf… But I can’t. It’s secret.
Thank you, Ryan for joining me here, and please give Bruce my best!
Oh, I will…when he gets back from Miami. Thank you so much for inviting me in!
Look for Hotel Bruce in stores everywhere on October 18, 2016!
And now… a look at the cover!